New 'flexible' work permit to allow illegal expats to work in Bahrain

Permit will allow illegal expats to work for multiple employers for two years
Bahrain World Trade Centre, Bahrain economy, Bahrain skyline, Bahrain business
By Staff writer
Thu 13 Oct 2016 11:23 AM

A new “flexible” work permit will be launched in Bahrain in the next few months to allow 10,000 illegal expats to legitimately work for multiple employers for two years.

The move is limited to workers who have overstayed their visa in the country due to being exploited or abused by their employers, the Labour and Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) told Gulf Daily News.

It said the permit, which will cost $80 (BD30) a month in addition to a one-time fee of $530 (BD200), will not cover employees who fled from their employees or are involved in serious offences.

“We are currently streamlining our systems before starting to accept applications for the flexible work permit. The new permit will help workers – who have faced abuse in the past – to work legally in Bahrain with a number of employers,” said LMRA chairman Jameel Humaidan.

Calling the permit a “legal alternative to employing illegal workers,” officials said it will enable the said workers to take up temporary jobs in all sectors except those that require professional licences such as nursing and engineering.

The applicant for the permit will act as his own sponsor, revealed labour affairs under-secretary Sabah Al Dossary. He added around10,000 illegal workers will be integrated into the labour market through the new scheme.

In 2015, there were almost 32,000 illegal workers in Bahrain and 60,000 illegal residents, according to LMRA figures.

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